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The 9 Commandments of the Staff Room

Dear teacher - A letter explaining what learners need

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thine Neighbour’s Mug

Buy your own mug, hide it and use it solely! There is no look in the world more terrifying from the glare of the Deputy Head who realises you’re using his favourite Peppa Pig mug.


Thou Shalt Always Wash Up

If you do be as foolish as to use someone else’s mug for heaven’s sake wash it up. That glare I was talking about before – imagine now the piercing laser stare from the aforementioned deputy head when they find the clotted remains of your chicken and mushroom Cupasoup in the bottom of their mug.


Thou Shalt Provideth Copious Vittals

Cake is the shortcut to all things good in the staffroom. Once you’ve finished marking for the evening consider baking a cake for your colleagues. Yes, your neighbours will think it’s a little odd that you’re baking at 1am on a Wednesday morning, but just imagine the warm reflected glow from your colleagues as they inhale it the next day.


Thou Shalt Never Take the Last Slice

Like Uranium-235 staffroom cake has a half-life, but unlike Uranium-235 it’s considerably shorter than 700 million years – more like 2 or 3 minutes. This creates the odd effect that people take increasingly smaller amounts of cake right up until what remains can only be seen through an electron microscope. So never take the last slice, but cutting it in two is fine.


Thou Shalt Find Holidays Endlessly Interesting

Whether they’ve planned where they’re going yet; whether they’re excited about going; whether they enjoyed where they’ve just gone; whether they got a nice tan; how many hours, minutes and seconds it is till the next half term – holidays are the evergreen conversation starter.


Thou Shalt Keep Thine Chair Sacred

Woe betide ye who sits in the wrong chair. There is no map to whose chair is whose – in fact it could all be an elaborate ploy to catch out new teachers. Just hover for days, months, years until you’re sure you’ve got the territory sussed before diving in and sitting down on just any old chair.


Thou Shalt Learn Who To Avoid

Some staff rooms can be more cliquey than the playgrounds so it’s up to you to work out who are the professionals and who are going to burden you with an endless tale of woe about their lesson plans or who have a predliction for gorgonzola sandwiches.


Thou Shalt Not Disturb Thine Neighbour

When the clock is on – do not disturb. If a colleague is frantically churning out lesson plans / marking / reports in their PPA time do not decide to have a long and loud phone call to your friend in the chair opposite for that is the path of destruction.


Thou Shalt Keep Thine Problems to Thineself

If you have a trusted friend or colleague they are the people to go to if you want to discuss any challenges you’re facing, because what is said in the staffroom doesn’t always stay in the staffroom. Quite apart from whether there are parents or students allowed in, it’s probably better to air your dirty laundry in private.



3 responses to “The 9 Commandments of the Staff Room”

  1. This made me smile. I can see so many similarities with our staff room but we banished having personal mugs and the room is a safer place for it.

    • Avatar Tom Hesmondhalgh says:

      Now that is a good idea! Maybe we should make some more Creative Education branded mugs and offer them to staff rooms as a means for ensuring staff harmony!

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Tom Hesmondhalgh

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